Billed as an "epic event limited series," the cast will be led by Guy Pearce as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, social justice activist Diane. They will be joined by Emily Skeggs (Fun Home) as Younger Roma Guy, Austin McKenzie as Younger Cleve Jones, newcomer Jonathan Majors as Younger Ken Jones and Fiona Dourif as Younger Diane. The roles of African-American community organizer Ken Jones and transgender activist Cecelia Chung are still to be cast, among others.
When We Rise, according to press notes, "chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today."
In a statement writer Black said, "It's been the honor of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years…To have collaborators of this caliber sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all."
The miniseries is executive-produced by Black, Laurence Mark, Bruce Cohen and Gus Van Sant for ABC. Van Sant will direct the two-hour premiere of the seven-episode event limited series. A broadcast date has yet to be announced.